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BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photos by Jaime DeJesus
BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photos by Jaime DeJesus
DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg with employees Anita Ramos and Clara Medina, who appear in the ads.

As part of National Workzone Awareness Week,  New York City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) has launched an advertising campaign designed to keep its workers and pedestrians safe. During the announcement, held at Brooklyn Army Terminal on Tuesday, March 24, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg discussed the significance of the ads which serve as a reminder to drivers that roadway workers put their lives at risk daily to keep the streets safe.

“It’s just a wonderful chance to honor the men and women who are out there doing work on our roadways,” said Trottenberg. “It’s not easy work, particularly this time of year because it’s cold. It can be dangerous and the point of this event is just to remind the public these are men and women that have families that they want to get home to at night. Please just drive carefully and keep them in mind.”

Trottenberg was joined by DOT employees, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd, local dignitaries and others, all stressing the dangers the workers face.

Employee Clara Medina, who is featured in one of the advertisements displayed during the event, expressed what her involvement meant to her.

“I’m proud to be part of a campaign that can save our coworkers and also the people traveling the roadway,” she said. “We are proud to serve as workers for the DOT, and ask for people to be patient and kind because we work for the city and every time we’re working, it’s for a reason, to make them safe.”

Fellow worker Anita Ramos reiterated that drivers should keep them in mind, despite possible inconveniences.  “In the end, we just want to make sure we’re safe and co-workers are safe and pedestrians are safe,” she said. “I’ve known some people that lost their lives on the roads and it’s very important to put this out for everyone so they can be aware of safety.”

In New York City, nearly two dozen city DOT workers have been injured in work zone incidents since 2009 and seven have died from work zone-related events during the past two decades.

Elected officials also weighed in on the movement.

“The men and women who put their lives at risk every day to improve our roads and bridges must be protected,” said City Council Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez.  “The Work Zone Safety Awareness campaign will not only help protect our workers, but also further instill a Vision Zero culture among our citizens and help stop these preventable crashes from occurring,”

“The Zone Watch program provides us a tool to help deter possible accidents, and encourage more responsible motor activity,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca in a statement. “I commend the NYCDOT, DEP, and all of the advocates who’ve worked to secure the implementation of this important program.”

The advertisements are expected to appear on billboards, in newspapers, on DOT vehicles, at local DMV offices and on social media.

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